Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions people make. Many factors will go into creating the right home for any buyer. This includes the number of bedroom and bathrooms as well as the lot itself. While all of these factors are important, there’s one factor that stands above the rest. That factor is location. As real estate agents tell their clients, people can change many things about their home. The one thing they can never change is the location. This is why it is important to decide on the right neighborhood before looking at any homes.
The Ideal Location
The ideal location depends on many things. Each person has a list of what they want from the neighborhood they have in mind. In many cases, this includes not only their needs but the needs of all of their family members. For example, parents want great schools for their children. Homeowners are also looking for neighborhoods that make it easy for them to get to work. A wide variety of public transport options as well as nearby highways are a must for many people in search of a new home. The same is true of amenities such as public parks, access to shopping and neighborhoods that have a certain feel.
Picking Out a Neighborhood
The process of scouting out neighborhoods is one that requires a lot of careful thought. Some people have a few neighborhoods in mind already. They may have grown up in their hometown and wish to raise a family. Others, however, may be new to an area or want to move to a new region they do not know as well. Under those circumstances, it is crucial to take the time investigate all potential areas very carefully. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to get access to accurate information, have a close personal look at the area and begin narrowing down their choice of desired location.
Anyone who is looking for a new location should have a rough idea of the general aspects of the neighborhoods they have in mind. This should include the average home price, the property taxes and the types of homes that are present. Many areas have a specific type of housing such as an apartment or lots of detached homes on larger lots. It’s also important to know about specifics such as the location of the nearest airport and all major highways. Other factors will also make any neighborhood feel right or lead to the potential homeowner ruling it out. For example, part of the area may be devoted to industry. While this can be a source of jobs, it can also lead to lowered housing values and safety issues. The homeowner should be aware of how long a commute is likely to take on a busy morning as well as how long it is likely to take them to bring a child to school or to get to the nearest grocery store.
By the Numbers
Numbers can help people make sense of the area. Look at local test scores. Average local standardized test scores should be compared against state averages. Higher than average scores can indicate a desirable school district that is likely to attract many buyers and sellers. Other numbers can also tell important information. For example, per capita crime rates can indicate if the area is relatively safe or has issues with personal safety may be a concern. A home buyer should also know how long homes are selling and the average price of the homes. Homes that are selling briskly as soon as they hit the market are an indication that the area is considered a popular one with much to offer.
Looking at statistics on paper may give the person a means of deciding which neighborhoods are likely to meet their personal needs. However, few things give more information than walking the neighborhood in person. Any potential homeowner should take the time to visit each perspective area at multiple times. A visit early in the morning allows time to see how much traffic is in the region. Certain streets may appear calm during the day but may act as a passthrough during the morning and evening. An evening visit can also reveal lots of crucial information. For example, this is when people may be strolling the streets, spending time in cafes and interacting with others in the community.
Talking to People
Speaking directly to residents is another way to help decide on an area. Visit a local park on a weekend when lots of people are likely to be out and about. Strike up a conversation with residents. They’ll be happy to talk about what they like best about the area and what they think may need improvement. Locals can also be valuable source of information about any potential upcoming projects. They can tell people about a planned housing development that may not have attracted much notice in the local papers yet. They can also help find out about areas that may have a less than desirable reputation. For example, a specific area may have issues such as an increase in crime as of late. Or, people can give informed opinions about areas that they believe are likely to be on the rebound in the next few years.
The Long Term
Perhaps the most important thing to consider is the long term view. Most homeowners will spend at least five years in the home they buy. An area should be one that makes the owner feel like they could happily spend lots of time there. The location should be one that meets most of their requirements now and going forward. For example, a young couple may be planning to have children. They’ll want good schools and easy access to daycare. An older couple may want to have walkable areas and close by shops. Each should investigate carefully.